October 7, 2009

Claudia Rinciog ’10 Publishes Research in National Scientific Journal

Biochemistry major studied bacteria-eating viruses with Steven Mylon, assistant professor of chemistry

Claudia Rinciog ’10 (Galati, Romania) has published research she worked on with Steven Mylon, assistant professor of chemistry, in the national chemistry journal Langmuir. The article addresses the difficulty of disinfecting water supplies contaminated with a bacteria-eating virus.

“I’m glad that I got the chance to take part in this project and do something as great as a scientific article during my undergraduate career,” says Rinciog, who is a double major in biochemistry and economics & business.

Rinciog and Mylon studied the virus MS2, which can be found in aquatic environments and act as a disease carrier. Because it is the size of a nanoparticle, the virus poses a great challenge to purifying water supplies. The objective of the project was to understand more about the virus’ stability.

“Learning more about the aggregation of viruses under different chemical conditions could help in future studies to control the efficiency of the virus in infectivity and filtration,” Rinciog says.

She has worked with Mylon as an EXCEL Scholar since her sophomore year. Her responsibilities included preparing solutions of different viral concentrations and performing light-scattering measurements on the solutions.

“I think the reason our work extended over my entire college career is we got along well from the very beginning. It’s probably the way he conveys the information that made me first appreciate his teaching style, and second, develop an affinity for chemistry and scientific research,” Rinciog says. “His curiosity about different projects was contagious, because the moment he introduced me to one of his research topics, I became curious and eager to find out more and try to find ways I could answer a question. Probably the best thing Dr. Mylon has taught me is to keep my eyes open for questions to answer.”

Rinciog is applying to graduate schools in Europe to pursue a master’s degree in public health.

“Research has definitely helped me develop the analytical thinking that is necessary for public health issues,” she says. “Doing research teaches you that it’s OK if you don’t find the answer to a problem from your very first trial, and the whole beauty and excitement of scientific research is to go on and try harder, explore new, adjacent concepts, and find different solutions. The answer is out there; it just takes a lot of dedication and patience to find it.”

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